Proposed features/leisure=racetrack

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Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: sorcrosc
Tagging: leisure=racetrack
Applies to: AreaNode
Definition: A specific tag for motor vehicles racetracks
Drafted on: 2016-10-09


Introduce a specific tag for motor vehicles racetracks


The highway=raceway tag is designated to map the racing track itself and there is no tag suitable to map the racetrack in the whole, including boxes, spectator space, shops. Sometimes there is also more than one separate tracks in the same plant. According to the actual wiki page it is possible to use this tag on an area when the track is not recognizable for some reason. We might consider to use it on the whole area but this not consistent with the normal usage of the highway tag, which is usually intended for walkable/drivable areas only, moreover this produce the undesirable effect that is impossible to distinguish the vehicles designated area from the rest, considering that the track itself could be drawn as an area where it is large enough.

Current mapping

Usual tags

This is a list of actually used tags. The table below shows usage numbers obtained with Overpass Turbo queries

The related wiki page suggests a distinction from this pair and area:highway=raceway letting assume that the first is usable for the whole area but this not convincing and neither accepted by the mappers. There are problems with rendering because there should be color distinction and maybe it's not clear what object should carry primary attributes (name, contact info, ...).
This seems to be the more used, probably because of the name and for rendering reasons. Its use is however for tracks themselves that are usually inside other facilities like stadiums and sport centers. Moreover the related wiki clearly says that it's for non motorized sports, indeed it can be considered the highway=raceway counterpart for such sports
Maybe this is the one that better suits for the purpose and it is widely used but in the wiki there is no mention on possible usage for places where motorized sports take place. Using this tag imply to map very different plants in the same way and the only way to distinguish them each other is relying on the sport=* tag, that is probably not the best because it's pretty common to use not documented values and also multiple with separator.
This seems to be widely used probably for rendering reasons but its usage is for single playing fields and clearly not suitable
Tag In the same way together with sport=motor/motocross/karting Found in areas which have inside ways with highway=raceway
highway=raceway area=yes 33 65
leisure=track 1450 505
leisure=sports_centre 500 450
leisure=pitch 680 277

Other tags

There are a few mapped this way that seems to agree this proposal. Maybe leisure is a better key than amenity for the purpose and and all sport related things are in this key
There is a mention only in this talk[1] and rarely used. Probably too much specific for a landuse mapping. It could be a good idea to have a landuse=* value to map lands where leisure activities takes place and are predominant in which can fit both racetracks and sport centers and not only (landuse=recreation_ground ?)

Applies to

  • Applies to all facilities where motor sports take place. There must be at least one track on the ground for racing vehicles.
    Related documented sport= values are motor/motocross/karting/rc_car.
  • It's pretty easy to rely on the motorized/non-motorized parameter but for some other sport, there are cases where it could be applicable (discussion needed).
    Here is some category that could be considered for this tag instead of leisure=sports_centre
  1. Animal or animal pulled vehicles. See also leisure=horse_riding
  2. Downhill with non-motorized vehicles
  • Do not applies to this sports but is applicable if in the same facility are used also motor vehicles.

Implications on related tags

  • leisure=track loses many incorrect usages on large heterogeneous areas. This partly opens the way for it's usage as a linear feature by default in the same way as highway=raceway


The preferred mapping mode is as area, which should include all permanent parts of the plant. Alternatively it is possible to set a node as a landmark and apply the leisure=racetrack tag to it. Add to the same object the sport=* tag with designated values separated by ';' if more sports are practiced. Add name=* and other usual tags.

The track itself inside the area has to be tagged with highway=raceway. All the other tags already used on the outline way should not be replicated here. The sport=* tag may be considered optional if the value is the same as the outline area. If a racetrack includes more than one track in which are practiced different sports, it is required to add the sport=* tag with the specific value(s) to every track. The name=* tag can be used to add a specific name to a track if it has or to name the various parts like turns. See the dedicated page for other details.

Transition to the new tag

Alter what is already mapped would mean losing immediate visibility until the tag is accepted and become of common usage, anyway the actual mapping way is very diversified and often incorrect so not easily accessible.

racetrack o race_track or what?

The English wikipedia page for [W] Race track suggests this words and others. racetrack seems to be the more suitable but suggestions are welcome for other terms which could better designate the feature.


The same as sports_centre could be a good starting point.

Other alternative options

Extend the leisure=sports_centre tag definition to definitely cover also racetracks. May be a good idea to have at least a subtag for a better definition avoiding to rely on the sport=* attribute.


Images from Wikimedia Commons


Please comment on the discussion page.